Monopoly is a classic game, and known for being a fair game. It most likely wouldn’t be popular if it weren’t fair. Or would it?
For my second hack I decided to modify the rules of monopoly in order to make it more realistic to economic situations in life. By doing this, we can engage in a critical play of monopoly that exposes the inequities that people face in life.
The first rule that I modified is how much money each person starts out with. In the original version of the game, each person starts out with $1500. However, my modification makes it so the amount of money you enter the game with is determined by the amount rolled on the two dice. If you are to get a 2,3,4,5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 you get 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, or 90% of $1500, rounded up to the nearest whole number, respectively. If you are to get a 10-12, you start off with 100% of $1500. This first modification of the game is a critique on how much wealth people start out with. In life, people do not start off on a level playing field in terms of wealth; in this modification, the players will enter the game in a way that is more accurate to how people enter life. The amount of wealth we start with is up to chance, just like rolling dice. The implications of this modification on the game of monopoly is that those who get, for example, 20% of $1500 ($300) will have to budget the amount of property the can; however, those starting out with higher percentages will be able to purchase more of the property without passing by others. This also puts players starting out with less money at disadvantages with regards to expenses throughout the game.
My second modification to the game surrounds free parking. I grew up playing with free parking as having $200 for someone to take if they land on it. However, my modification has a property requirement of three properties to be able to access the free parking. If you don’t have that property requirement and you land on it, you need to pay a fine of $200 dollars for loitering. This modification changes something that players had taken for granted in the past into something that can mean different things to different people based on wealth. For example, the difference of being well off with a car and poor having no car could also be the difference between saving money and being fined for being in a spot that the law doesn’t think you should be in.
My third modification is jail. I always used to take refuge in jail in the game of monopoly. In reality, however, jail and prison systems are not safe places and have long term consequences that negatively affect one’s life. For example, most ex-convicts cannot find jobs. I tried to reflect this by making the modification that ex-convicts (player’s who have been to jail) cannot receive $200 for passing “Go”; ex-convicts also lose their properties because realistically ex-convicts wouldn’t have been able to afford taxes and bills on their properties. This makes jail more realistic in terms of how in society we view it as something that can ruin one’s life or have a negative impact on it financially.
My fourth modification to the game of monopoly has to do with taxes: income tax and luxury tax. With respect to income tax, I used the US tax bracket percentages from 2018: 10%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%. I found the scale for who is in which bracket by dividing $1500 into the 7 brackets, which leaves a scale of about $214. This means players who have $0-$214 pay 10%, $215-$429 pay 20%, and so on. The tax bracket idea makes monopoly more realistic as well. In order to pay luxury tax, you must own at least one house and you pay taxes based off of the price of the house.
The final modification I have is not a modification I made up, but comes with the version of the game that my friend has. It is called the speed dice. With the speed dice, you can get a 1, 2, or 3 added onto your dice or you can get a Mr. Monopoly Man or a Bus. The Monopoly man lets you move to the next unowned property after you move on your turn. The bus lets you choose if you want to move on either of your dices’ individual numbers, or it’s total. The implication of the speed dice is the privilege of shortcuts and the randomness of who gets them.
All of these modifications to the game of Monopoly were implemented for the purpose of making Monopoly more realistic; by making it more realistic, we can see that life is not fair in the way that people start of with less wealth than others, jails are not actually rehabilitation centers (like they are supposed to be) but can actually damage lives. Taxes make the game more realistic in terms of a Capitalist structure which has its own implications, which can show how taxes can be hard for people of low wealth and easier for people with more wealth, even if a nominal rate is in place. The intent of making monopoly more realistic hopefully adds an unexpected twist to the game, which can in turn make the game more appealing and/or fun.